From feces to data : A metabarcoding method for analyzing consumed and available prey in a bird-insect food web

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Rytkönen , S , Vesterinen , E J , Westerduin , C , Leviäkangas , T , Vatka , E , Mutanen , M , Välimäki , P , Hukkanen , M , Suokas , M & Orell , M 2019 , ' From feces to data : A metabarcoding method for analyzing consumed and available prey in a bird-insect food web ' , Ecology and Evolution , vol. 9 , no. 1 , pp. 631-639 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4787

Title: From feces to data : A metabarcoding method for analyzing consumed and available prey in a bird-insect food web
Author: Rytkönen, Seppo; Vesterinen, Eero J.; Westerduin, Coen; Leviäkangas, Tiina; Vatka, Emma; Mutanen, Marko; Välimäki, Panu; Hukkanen, Markku; Suokas, Marko; Orell, Markku
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences
University of Helsinki, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Date: 2019-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: Ecology and Evolution
ISSN: 2045-7758
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/300404
Abstract: Diets play a key role in understanding trophic interactions. Knowing the actual structure of food webs contributes greatly to our understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The research of prey preferences of different predators requires knowledge not only of the prey consumed, but also of what is available. In this study, we applied DNA metabarcoding to analyze the diet of 4 bird species (willow tits Poecile montanus, Siberian tits Poecile cinctus, great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus) by using the feces of nestlings. The availability of their assumed prey (Lepidoptera) was determined from feces of larvae (frass) collected from the main foraging habitat, birch (Betula spp.) canopy. We identified 53 prey species from the nestling feces, of which 11 (21%) were also detected from the frass samples (eight lepidopterans). Approximately 80% of identified prey species in the nestling feces represented lepidopterans, which is in line with the earlier studies on the parids' diet. A subsequent laboratory experiment showed a threshold for fecal sample size and the barcoding success, suggesting that the smallest frass samples do not contain enough larval DNA to be detected by high-throughput sequencing. To summarize, we apply metabarcoding for the first time in a combined approach to identify available prey (through frass) and consumed prey (via nestling feces), expanding the scope and precision for future dietary studies on insectivorous birds.
Subject: dietary ecology
DNA barcoding
fecal DNA
frass
insectivorous birds
Lepidoptera
metagenomics
TITS PARUS-MAJOR
SIZE
BARCODE
PREDATOR
ARTHROPODS
GREAT TITS
DNA
SELECTION
BROOD
LIFE
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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